The Lost Tribe

Ralph Luker sent me a link which I’d seen before, but lost: Arimasa Kubo’s “Israelites Came To Ancient Japan” pages. It’s a great mix of logical and historical fallacies, mostly having to do with ignoring actual archaeological evidence of Japanese origins and traditions. Most of the rest have to do with ignoring the commonality of certain practices among world religions (as my father says, if all you have is two points, you can draw a line). There are a few which are kind of interesting, but they are usually local customs which are not “Japanese” in the sense of being common to any significant portion of the population and which are rather poorly sourced. At some point, I suppose, I ought to check out the books that he cites, to see if they have footnotes to anything remotely credible.


  1. Hi there.
    I am college student at George Mason University in Fairfax Virginia and I stumbled upon this “inonakanokawazu” site while I was trying to find resources concerning whether or not it was a credible idea that one of the 10 lost tribes of israel made their way to japan. I have seen Kubo’s site, and I am using it as the main basis for a paper that I am writing for a faith and reason class that I am taking. I grew up in japan, and come from a Jewish background, although I know very little about the Jewish culture itself. Yet, the similarities I have found in personal situations between the ways of the Japanese and the cultural concepts that relate to my family being jewish have always struck a cord with me and have left me wondering. I was wondering if you looked any further into this concept, and even if you haven’t if you would be willing to share some ideas with me on this concept.

    Deborah Rose Guterbock

  2. There is no credible genetic, linguistic or cultural basis for Kubo’s claims. Such commonalities as he has “documented” and you’ve experienced are historical accidents, the results of many human beings acting like… well, human beings, and sometimes repeating themselves.

    Now, if you want to talk about tribalism and identity in Jews and Japanese, then we might have something to talk about…. I highly recommend Ben-Ami Shillony’s book if you want further documentation and coherent discussion.

  3. Research has been made concerning this interesting yet unproven (unprovable?)theory.

    You may want to read the book “Jizo and Jesus in Japan”, by Kenny Joseph.

  4. I assume you mean this? As I read it, Joseph is claiming that the Nestorians came to Japan sometime around the founding of the Yamato dynasty, established immensely churches which were, somehow, absorbed into Buddhism (“Since Buddhism as an “organized religion” is actually only about 200 years old (before that priests and temples acted as a city hall, register of births and deaths, address changes, etc.)”) under the name of Jizo…. yeah.

    I actually think Leupp is on to something when he traces the tradition of saints’ halos to Bodhisattvas. But the evidence the other way is … nonexistent.

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